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Be A Freelance Writer In 3 Easy Steps!

Freelance writers must write, rewrite and marketSo you want to be a freelance writer? Huh. Well I can tell you how to do it. And in three steps, no less. (You can also get a free ebook along the same lines.)

Maybe you read about a celebrity getting a million dollar advance. Perhaps you saw an ad promising to train you in copy writing so you could easily earn a six figure income. Or maybe you’ve got an idea for a book you’re sure would be a best seller. It could be you just want so see your name in print.

Somehow or another you decided to give freelance writing a try and now you’re wondering what to do next.

You’re in the right place because I’m going to show you exactly how to be a freelance writer in three steps:

1 – Write

Over time I’ve talked with a whole bunch of people who thought they wanted to become writers, freelance or otherwise.  When I suggested that the very first thing they have to do is write, many of them fade away.

You’ve got to write. I don’t care if you write with your computer, a pen or pencil on sheets of paper, use a typewriter (remember those?) or carve letters into stone. Nothing will happen until you write, and write, and write some more, and then do it all over again, and again.

2 – Rewrite

Once you’ve written, take about 10 seconds to congratulate yourself. Any longer and you’ll be tempted to skip the next step, which is to rewrite what you’ve written.

This is where you tear apart your deathless prose, re-arrange it, add to it, subtract from it and generally turn a draft into a piece of polished writing.

Rewriting is in many cases much harder than writing. But if you want to become a writer, rewriting is part of the game.

3 – Market

Okay, you’ve got your article or book or poem or essay polished. It’s ready to go.

Go to who is the question. Which is precisely what you have to find out. Who might want what you’ve written and then you’ve got to sell it to them.

Selling it to them, even if you don’t get paid, is how you get published.

It’s called marketing. Marketing is an integral part of freelance writing. There’s simply no escaping this fact.

Do these three steps guarantee or even make it more likely that you’ll be successful as a freelance writer? Of course not.

But I can promise you you won’t get there if you don’t use all three of these steps.


{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Anne,

    I agree with others – simple and straight to the point.

    Like Elizabeth, I enjoy the drafting process, and I derive a great deal of satisfaction as my ugly, plonky looking first drafts become molded and shaped into the best work of which I am capable within reasonable time limits.

    (My only experience to-date consists solely of writing on my blog. I guess the drafting process is probably more extensive for most of your other readers than for myself, given that some of your other readers no doubt write more lengthy and sophisticated work than a simple blog post. Nevertheless, I would also have thought that the process of drafting is absolutely essential regardless of the nature of the writing involved and whether we are talking about a simple blog post or a 100 page novel)

    I like your third point, and as someone who is just starting out with ambitions to become a corporate writer or business journalist, I am just starting to kick into gear with regard to the marketing process (although you talk about freelance writing specifically here, I would imagine that the principles which you outline would apply equally to someone in my position). Toward this end, I have just joined the Victorian Writers Group (the main writers group within my home state of Victoria, Australia) with the hope of attending a fair number of networking events organised by the group. I am also actively pursuing opportunities for volunteer work in writing (through charitable organisations) in order to develop experience and build a credible resume.
    .-= Andrew Heaton´s last blog ..You Tube: Google should not have to screen every video =-.

    • Anne

      Andrew, it’s hard to get worse at something you practice and it sounds like you’re on your way… writer’s groups can be wonderful.

  • Yep. Gotta do it. Who was it that said the first rule of writing is “Butt in chair?”

    For what it’s worth, I LOVE rewriting. It’s way more fun than the first draft because I get to watch a sloppy mess shape itself into a book, story or post. Whee!
    .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Conflict Schmonflict =-.

    • I get to watch a sloppy mess shape itself into a book, story or post

      I love this attitude, Elizabeth! I never thought about it, but it’s true. My usual M.O. is to sleep on my draft (not literally 🙂 ) and do my rewriting in the morning (I’m a definite morning person). It is so much more satisfying than trying to force the words.
      .-= Cathy Miller´s last blog ..The Social Media Fantasy: Be Yourself =-.

    • You know, that’s funny, so do I. Rewriting is easy. Most of the time, anyway.
      .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

    • Anne

      Yeah, rewriting in many ways is the most satisfying…

  • Anne:

    Like Christopher, I really appreciate the simplicity of this post – especially after your post about social media. I gave you, Carson & Naomi a “shout-out” on my most recent post because it really hit home with me.

    I have been freelancing a bit more than a year now and this says it all. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by all the strategies and tools out there, but it really does boil down to write, rewrite and market.

    .-= Cathy Miller´s last blog ..The Social Media Fantasy: Be Yourself =-.

  • Simple and to the point. I like it.
    .-= Christopher´s last blog ..A Little Story About Procrastination =-.

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